An evolution of the Mi Watch Lite, the Redmi Watch 2 Lite boasts a larger screen and a SpO2 sensor, all at a still very aggressive price. This is enough to establish its dominance in the entry-level segment, despite some persistent flaws.
Xiaomi's most affordable connected watch is getting better and better to continue to appeal to those who want to enjoy activity and health tracking features without spending too much.
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite features a large 1.55" color LCD screen, heart rate and SpO2 sensors, and a GPS chip that makes it more autonomous and smartphone-independent for outdoor sports activities.
Available in three different colors (white, blue and black), it is positioned as one of the cheapest connected watches on the market.
Ergonomics and design
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite retains the square format of the Mi Watch Lite, which is not unlike that of the Apple Watch. The comparison with the latter stops there, as the Apple Watch has a much more flattering finish, in line with its price tag, which is at least four times higher. There is no metal here, everything is plastic, but the quality of the workmanship and the curved glass covering almost the entire case make you quickly forget this inevitable compromise for a low-cost watch.
The 22mm wide TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) strap is firmly attached to the watch case and difficult to remove if you want to replace it - an operation that fortunately does not happen every morning. If the strap is easily put in place thanks to a classic buckle system, it unfortunately lacks a little flexibility and its end is not always easy to slide into the loop that should hold it in position - which it also does not do very well.
The Watch 2 Lite is not uncomfortable to wear thanks to its lightness (35.7 g on our scale) and its thickness (10.7 mm, including the sensor). The dimensions of the case are also reasonable (41.2 x 35.3 mm) and can fit most wrists.
Behind its glass, the Redmi watch has a 1.55-inch screen with a definition of 320 x 360 px (482 dpi). Disappointing as to the technology used, since we have to make do with LCD, while an activity sensor like the Redmi Smart Band Pro enjoys an Amoled slab despite its small price. The screen of the Redmi Watch 2 Lite nevertheless offers good readability and remains readable in sunlight despite significant reflections. Although the screen diagonal has increased, its occupancy rate remains below 55%, equivalent to that of the Apple Watch Series 6 - the best watches exceed 60% (69% for the Apple Watch Series 7). This is definitely better than the 46% of the Mi Watch Lite.
In terms of waterproofing, the Watch 2 Lite is certified 5 ATM (resistance up to 50 m), so you can swim without any problem with it. You should simply avoid diving or water sports such as surfing or windsurfing.
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite opts for a touch interface. A single button located in the middle of the right edge is simply used to turn on the watch, return to the main dial or display the menu. The operation is very classic and based on finger sliding on the screen: from bottom to top to display shortcuts, from top to bottom to access notifications, laterally to switch from one widget to another (heart rate, SpO2, weather, start an activity and daily counter of calories burned, steps taken and number of times you have stood up).
The LCD screen does not stay on all the time to save energy and turns off after a few seconds. You just have to tilt your wrist towards you or press the edge button to wake it up. However, you should not be in a hurry, as the screen takes between 2 and 3 seconds to turn on. An annoying slowness, especially when you just want to take a quick look at the time, which is however the main function of a watch!
Like many connected watches, the Watch 2 Lite offers several dials for displaying the time and several complications such as the number of steps taken and calories burned in the day, the battery level or heart rate, for example. It is possible to download other dials via the Xiaomi Wear Lite application than those pre-installed in the watch. We regret that these are not interactive, to open widgets corresponding to the complications displayed.
All of the watch's functions are accessible by pressing its edge button. They appear in the form of tiles whose pictograms you have to learn to recognize. They include the main functions that we have the right to expect: starting a sport activity, consultation of past activities, heart rate and SpO2 measurements, sleep monitoring, weather, control of the music played on the smartphone, alarms, stopwatch, timer, compass ... However, due to the lack of an application store, it will not be necessary to count on other functions.
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite works via Bluetooth communication with the Mi Fitness app (iOS and Android), the replacement for Xiaomi Wear. It is possible to transfer data from the Xiaomi Mi Fit application.
Rather simple to use, the application displays on its home screen general information: number of steps taken and calories burned during the day, last activity performed with access to training history ... It also displays various health information such as heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep monitoring, stress ... You can reorganize the display according to your preferences.
The second tab of the application is reserved for starting activities directly from the smartphone rather than from the watch. Its interest seems limited to us because of the small number of options and settings possible.
The settings of the application and the watch are arranged in a third tab, to download other watch faces, reorganize the widgets, adjust the health settings and choose the notifications to be displayed.
We especially regret that the analysis of sports activities is not more advanced. Sports watch applications are much more comprehensive. However, this will suit occasional users who only need a vague follow-up of their activities and not an analysis of their performance and training programs, for example.
At the time of our test, the application was still suffering from translation errors, which becomes less and less excusable with each successive generation. A unified, redesigned and well-translated application in all languages would be welcome.
Uses and accuracy
With no less than 100 sports activities supported, the Redmi Watch 2 Lite is aimed at a wide range of users. However, the proposed activities do not necessarily provide all the measurements and information we would expect, most of them being limited to measuring the duration and heart rate during exercise. We will use it mainly to categorize our activities for tracking purposes.
The application does allow you to analyze certain activities with more precision, with runs broken down into segments, but it's still brief and far from what you get with a sports watch.
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite is, however, a little more than an activity sensor disguised as a watch, incorporating a GPS chip that most connected bracelets do not have. Practical for not having to take your smartphone with you during a running session, for example, especially since the accuracy of the track recorded with the watch is quite correct.
In terms of heart rate measurement, the watch produces good results for endurance activities, with a margin of error compared to the readings of our reference chest belt (Polar H10) of no more than 1%. It's a different story when it comes to measuring heart rate variations. The reactivity as well as the number of measurements are insufficient to ensure a good follow-up, although the curve obtained follows globally that obtained with our belt.
On the other hand, the SpO2 sensor is used for sleep monitoring, in order to detect possible respiratory failures that could alert on a possible sleep apnea. As with the heart rate readings, these measurements are only indicative and not medical, and do not replace a medical examination. Sleep monitoring seemed relevant to us, although advanced tools are needed to be able to truly evaluate its reliability.
Equipped with a 262 mAh battery, the Redmi Watch 2 Lite could last for "10 days in typical use" and "5 days in intensive use", according to Xiaomi. Our tests were rather in the order of 6 to 7 days for moderate use with default settings and physical activities not using GPS. An autonomy to be divided by two if you run or cycle daily with GPS activated.
Recharging is done via a proprietary cable with a magnetic connector, the USB-A end of which connects to a smartphone charger or a computer USB port. It takes exactly 60 minutes to fill up the battery.
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite offers all the functions that any connected watch worthy of the name should provide and generally delivers good performance; at least if you don't expect it to be very accurate in measuring and analyzing activities, especially sports. Easy to wear, it offers a satisfactory experience considering its aggressive price positioning.